SALT LAKE CITY – Behind a career night from Jordan Bjornberg, the 13th-ranked Westminster College men’s basketball team cruised to an 85-61 win over No. 20 Cal State San Marcos on Saturday night in the second game of the Westminster Thanksgiving Classic.
Westminster (6-1) never trailed in the game after opening the game with six straight points and 12 of the first 16. San Marcos (5-2) would cut the deficit to 18-7 at the 9:31 mark of the opening half, only to see the Griffins use a 14-2 run over the next 3:22 to build a 32-19 advantage that would result in a 45-29 halftime lead.
“The first half really set the tone for us tonight,” head coach Adam Hiatt said. “We executed the game plan and our defensive intensity really took them out of what they wanted to do.”
After San Marcos scoffed the first two points after the break, Westminster put together a 24-8 run over the next 5:33 to grow the lead to its largest of the game at 30 with 13:07 remaining. San Marcos would continue to attack the rim down the stretch to cut the final deficit to 24.
Bjornberg finished the game with a career-high 23 points and set a school record for most made field goals without a miss at 10-for-10. The senior added five rebounds, one block and one steal to his line in just 15 minutes on the court. The Griffins front court also got 14 points from both Jake Orchard and Tallon Robertson, while Alex Drecksel finished with six points. Those three combined for 17 assists and zero turnovers.
“He came off the bench tonight and gave us that spark,” Hiatt said. “He provided a burst and was really excellent tonight.”
Westminster shot 56.3 percent from the floor and finished with 50 points in the paint. The Griffins also went 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) from beyond the arc and had 25 assists on 36 made field goals with only 15 turnovers. Westminster out-rebounded the Cougars 42-30 and had 12 offensive boards for 12 second chance points.
The defense limited CSUSM to 43.1 percent shooting and held the team to just 38 points in the paint. The Griffins forced 16 turnovers and scored 16 points from them with eight coming on the fast break. CSUSM shot 2-of-11 (18.2 percent) from beyond the arc and went 0-for-5 after halftime.
Ali Langford led CSUSM with 20 points and nine rebounds. Hakeem Washington chipped in 11 points and seven assists, while Quincy Lawson scored 10.
The Griffins will wrap up the Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday when they host Chadron State (Neb.) at 7 p.m. in the Behnken Field House.